Big Pharma Follows Sutton's Law: Go Where The Money Is!

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Email Newsletter from 12/22/05

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Featured Article:

Big Pharma Follows Sutton's Law: Go Where The Money Is!

Question to Willie Sutton: Why do you rob banks?

Answer: Because that is where the money is.

Question to Richard White, Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer subsidiary Vicuron Pharmaceuticals, according to its web site, “a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, manufacture and commercialization of vital medicines for hospital-based infectious diseases": [Emphasis mine]: Why is “only a handful on new antibiotics being developed to combat the spread of resistant super bugs?”

Dr. White's answer: "There are more profitable areas to pursue. The problem with antibiotics is that they work, and the patient is gone in a matter of days." For that reason”, says USA Today, "Many large drug companies have dropped antibiotic research and are focusing on chronic diseases, developing drugs that must be taken repeatedly…There seems to be very little going into the [antibiotic] pipeline." USA Today December 19, 2005, page 7D

I write, lecture and read a good deal about Codex Alimentarius because I believe that it is the single most deadly threat to health and health freedom on the planet (and there are plenty of others). As I speak with people, they routinely ask if it is really possible even for Big Pharma to intentionally traffic in human misery by supporting global decisions which will increase the incidence of the chronic diseases which are already sickening and killing us in record numbers. "Can any one, or any corporation, really be so callous?” they ask.

Richard White’s answer to why drug companies are developing no- or few - new antibiotics gives a penetrating insight into how big pharma follows the money. So how does Codex fit in? Codex is about food, not drugs. Animals are dosed and dosed again - and again- with antibiotics to allow animals to be overcrowded, fatten faster, not succumb to the stress of rearing and transport, stay alive in filthy and disgusting conditions and still survive long enough to get slaughtered.

It may surprise you to learn that fully 70 percent of the antibiotics and related drugs produced in this country—nearly 25 million pounds per year—are used in animal agriculture for non-therapeutic purposes. This is more than eight times the amount of antibiotics and related drugs used to treat humans. Codex wishes to expand this unwholesome and dangerous use of antibiotics in animals worldwide through nation by nation adoption of its animal drug guidelines. Codex allows staggeringly high levels of antibiotic residues in meat from these treated animals. When you eat them, these residues are important factors in drug resistant food-born infections which are an escalating health problem.

Big Pharma knows full well that the use of old antibiotics has been a major contributor to the creation of super bugs which now threaten both hospitals and communities. Resistant infections are not limited to hospitals anymore. They are out and about in our towns and schools, restaurants and shopping malls.

Big Pharma also knows that there is not enough money to satisfy them in the development of more effective new antibiotics and so they are not developing them. Remember Sutton's Law: Big Pharma goes where the money is.

Never mind that these man-made antibiotic resistant super bugs threaten every man woman and child on the planet. Never mind that continued use of antibiotics in food animals makes the likelihood of a super bug plague higher and higher by the day. Never mind that animal antibiotics are being detected in human drinking water with serious health consequences for everyone drinking that contaminated water.

Here is what Death By Medicine, has to say about the use and overuse of antibiotics in animals and humans: “The leading causes of adverse drug reactions are

* antibiotics (17%)
* cardiovascular drugs (17%)
* chemotherapy (15%)
* analgesics and anti-inflammatory agents (15%).

…According to William Agger, MD, director of microbiology and chief of infectious disease at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, WI, 30 million pounds of antibiotics are used in America each year. Of this amount, 25 million pounds are used in animal husbandry, and 23 million pounds are used to try to prevent disease and the stress of shipping, as well as to promote growth. Only 2 million pounds are given for specific animal infections. Dr. Agger reminds us that low concentrations of antibiotics are measurable in many of our foods and in various waterways around the world, much of it seeping in from animal farms.

Agger contends that overuse of antibiotics results in food-borne infections resistant to antibiotics. Salmonella is found in 20% of ground meat, but the constant exposure of cattle to antibiotics has made 84% of salmonella resistant to at least one anti-salmonella antibiotic. Diseased animal food accounts for 80% of salmonellosis in humans, or 1.4 million cases per year. The conventional approach to countering this epidemic is to radiate food to try to kill all organisms while continuing to use the antibiotics that created the problem in the first place. Approximately 20% of chickens are contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni, an organism that causes 2.4 million cases of illness annually. Fifty-four percent of these organisms are resistant to at least one anti-campylobacter antimicrobial agent.

Denmark banned growth-promoting antibiotics beginning in 1999, which cut their use by more than half within a year, from 453,200 to 195,800 pounds. A report from Scandinavia found that removing antibiotic growth promoters had no or minimal effect on food production costs. Agger warns that the current crowded, unsanitary methods of animal farming in the US support constant stress and infection, and are geared toward high antibiotic use.

In the US, over 3 million pounds of antibiotics are used every year on humans. With a population of 284 million Americans, this amount is enough to give every man, woman, and child 10 teaspoons of pure antibiotics per year. Agger says that exposure to a steady stream of antibiotics has altered pathogens such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staplococcus aureus, and entercocci, to name a few.

Almost half of patients with upper respiratory tract infections in the U.S. still receive antibiotics from their doctor. According to the CDC, 90% of upper respiratory infections are viral and should not be treated with antibiotics. In Germany, the prevalence of systemic antibiotic use in children aged 0-6 years was 42.9%.”

Big Pharma knows full well that a conservative estimate of US annual preventable deaths ascribes 32,000 deaths/year to unnecessary surgery; 98,000-420,000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals; 200,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals; 880,000 deaths/year from infections in hospitals; 106,000 deaths/year from non-error, adverse effects of medications - up to 780,000 deaths per year - in the US as a direct result of mistreatments by physicians according to Death By Medicine, ( Data from another, ever more conservative set of estimates sets the annual US toll at a still-horrific 225,000 Americans per year. (The JOURNAL of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000 article by Dr Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health as reported by the Cancer Cure Foundation

Somebody is doing something about the use of antibiotics in food anima and they need our help. A bipartisan consortium of Congress men and woman do not want to see us sicken and die. They understand that antibiotics in food animals is a grave health threat. The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (S. 1460/H.R. 2932) is a vitally important piece of legislation to you and to your family. It would help to protect their health and yours by phasing out the practice of feeding massive quantities of antibiotics to food animals within two years of enactment. This legislation, if enacted, will end the overuse of medically significant antibiotics in animal agriculture. To fight Animal Antibiotic use in the US, we need to support the bipartisan efforts of Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), House members, Representatives Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD).

Check the story out at the Union of Concerned Scientists for background information and then email Congress, to make your voice heard on this important issue.

To fight dangerous animal antibiotic use internationally send the following message to the US Codex Manager Dr. Ed Scarborough:

“Please insure that the US position on the Codex guidelines addressing animal drugs conforms to the language contained in The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (S. 1460/H.R. 2932).”

Use link to the US Codex Office on this page.

Yours in hope, health and freedom

Rima E. Laibow, MD
Medical Director
Natural Solutions Foundation


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